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The Morning Fix

'Expendables 2' packs a punch. Viacom packs in more commercials.

August 27, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • "Premium Rush" cycled away with just $6.3 million.
"Premium Rush" cycled away with just $6.3 million. (Sony )

After the coffee. Before figuring out where the summer went.

The Skinny: I saw "Premium Rush,"the Joseph Gordon-Levittbike messenger movie and was pleasantly surprised. I also saw "Bachelorette" and was very disappointed. Win some, lose some. Monday's headlines include the recap of the weekend box office, the latest in the legal battle between the broadcasters and Dish Network and how Viacom is fighting low ratings by adding more commercials.

Daily Dose: Politico, the Capitol Hill-obsessed news outfit, is hoping steal some Web traffic and maybe even some TV ratings from the big boys during the upcoming political conventions. During the Republican convention this week, Politico will stream 70 hours of live coverage, some of which will also be carried on C-Span.

'The Expendables' are anything but.It was a rerun at the box office this past weekend with the AARP-endorsed action movie "The Expendables 2" finishing on top with $13.5 million. Of course, the weekend before Labor Day weekend is hardly known for big business. Finishing second was "The Bourne Legacy"with just under $10 million. Among the new movies, "Premium Rush" took in $6.3 million while the documentary "2016: Obama's America" took in a surprising $6.2 million. A look at the box office from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News

After the break. Ratings for some of Viacom's cable channels including Nickelodeon and Comedy Central have fallen this year. Viacom's solution? Add commercials. OK, that's not their solution, but it is what the company is doing nonetheless. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central had almost 10% more commercials in the first half 2012, compared with 2011. This is the third year in a row those networks have added spots. The additional spots help make up for lost revenue because the network is not delivering as big an audience as promised. Of course, adding more commercials just gives viewers another reason to change the channel and not come back. That's why those Viacom execs get the big bucks.

Stop the hop.The legal battle between the broadcast networks and Dish Network over the satellite operator's AutoHop feature, which allows subscribers to skip ads, starts in federal court here in just a few weeks. But Fox doesn't want to wait that long and has filed preliminary injunction to try to get the AutoHop shut down now. Details from Reuters.

What's normal?KSL-TV, NBC's affiliate in Salt Lake City, is not going to carry the network's new sitcom "The New Normal"when it premieres next month. The show from the "Glee" creator is about a gay couple adopting a baby. Per Salt Lake City's Deseret News, the station cited the show's content and language. This is not the first time KSL has disagreed with NBC on a show. Last fall, it refused to carry the short-lived drama "The Playboy Club." As was the case then, NBC is lining up another station in the market to carry the program.

Time to get real? Over the next two weeks, the Republicans and Democrats will hold their conventions. If history is any guide, the political wonks will be glued to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN while the broadcast networks will attract relatively small audiences. After all, there hasn't been real drama at a convention in more than 30 years. So how to boost interest in what are basically infomercials? New York Times media columnist David Carr talked with some top reality producers to see what they would do to make the conventions and the coverage of them more exciting.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Jay Leno and NBC aren't chuckling about what's going on in late night television. CNN is hoping its convention coverage can jump-start its ratings.

Follow me on Twitter. It's the only way to keep up. @JBFlint.

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